98 Installments—Entirely free
A chance meeting in childhood makes an unforgettable impression in Willa Cather's 1918 novel My Antonia. Young Jim Burden is orphaned and comes to live with his grandparents in Nebraska. Farm life brings changes for Jim, and one of the best parts of his new life is his friendship with the Shimerdas, an eccentric local family. Antonia Shimerda is Jim's age and from their first meeting, the boy and girl form a deep bond over the learning and life experiences they share together. Jim and Antonia drift apart and reunite more than once as the years go by, and their story takes some unexpected turns. Through times of joy and tragedy, their relationship grows and changes, always lingering somewhere between friendship and love.
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The prairie farmland where Willa Cather (1873-1947) grew up would always figure prominently in her novels. Born into a large family in Nebraska, the young Willa insisted on receiving a strong education. She went to college where some of her first published writing appeared in the university paper. Cather became a teacher after college, but her desire to be an author brought her to New York City, where she took a post as an editor for McClure's magazine. New York brought Cather into contact with many influential writers of her day, and she exchanged ideas with sophisticated peers while staying true to her rather unique literary vision, which tended to feature elemental stories of American farmers. For her war novel One of Ours, Cather was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1923. Renowned and admired by readers and peers, Cather kept her private life out of the spotlight, preferring to be recognized for her powerful stories of people whose lives are closely aligned with some of America's most unchanged landscapes.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
LAST summer I happened to be crossing the plains of Iowa in a season of intense heat, and it was my good fortune to have for a traveling companion James Quayle Burden--Jim Burden, as we still call him in the West. He and I are old friends--we grew up together in the same Nebraska town--and we had ...Back to top
Reviewed by hawkinsond on Mar 8, 2012
A major disappointment
My Antonia was not for me. Not terribly artfully written, it was not helped by a fairly boring, prosaic narrative. If Willa Cather is a great writer, she did not prove it by this book, though I'm willing to give her a chance with one of her others . . . Just not right now.
Reviewed by hfeldman on Apr 21, 2010
Works Well in Installments
The book is written in vignettes, which is good for reading in emails. There was a lot of description and set-up at first, which I find a bit dull, but Willa Cather managed to show the landscape, one I've never been to, very realistically. Admittedly, My Antonia doesn't quite have a plot, but each installment adds more richness to the pleasant story.
Reviewed by bookmark123 on Dec 15, 2009
Great American classic
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Ratings for 'My Antonia' by Cather, Willa